A major spy row has cast a shadow over US-Russian relations with echoes of the Cold War threatening newly warmed-up ties.
American authorities detained 10 people accused of conspiracy to act as unlawful agents of the Russian Federation.
Arrests and searches were made in Virginia, Boston, New Jersey and New York where five of the suspects appeared in court. An 11th suspect has been arrested in Cyprus.
It comes just days after President Medvedev was warmly received at the White House.
That did not escape Russia’s Foreign Minister. “The timing seems to have been chosen especially carefully,” he said.
Some say this is an attempt by US officials to undermine newly improved relations following Medvedev’s visit. The result could be dramatic.
“The process of the improvements of the relations between the two big nations, which were so successfully started by their leaders, will be for some time stopped and maybe even frozened. For how long? No one knows. But in any way it’s a significant blow to the process of re-setting.”
Another analyst described it as a ‘slap in the face’ for President Obama, predicting. Moscow would respond by uncovering an equal number of American spies in Russia.